|Photo Source: Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu , GoAP|
What drives the people to become transformative in life and productive in work is actually how far the competition, choices and efficiency systems functions in the country’s education and training sector. That matters a lot. During the last decade skilling and re-skilling people have been a major agenda for both Union and State governments. Many new initiatives were taken up to increase the skill building capacity realizing the fact that the window of demographic dividend otherwise would go unutilized. And perhaps, many felt that failing to use properly the demographic dividend would end up social and economic disasters. However, it is interesting to note that the Union government has opened up the policy reforms in the area of skilling and re-skilling and some of the State governments have really invented its wheel to reform the skilling and re-skilling through various innovative delivery mechanisms. Among others, involvement of both private sector and the technology has played a major role in the process of skilling and re-skilling of large number of persons in different communities.
One of the main agenda of all the State Governments have been improving the conditions of imparting skill development to those who dropout early from school education, existing workers in unorganized sector, the marginalized sections, etc. Besides, Union government’s schemes on skill development and training, some State Governments are implementing their own skill development schemes which are far more effective in some ways. Indeed, few State Governments have initiated institutional reforms in skilling people with structured institutional mechanisms. There is uniqueness in each of these State government’s skill development initiatives.
In what follows are the brief analysis of the key new initiatives of skill development by some of the States wherein the Congress Party is or was in power till recently. Basically, the aim is to look at the key policy initiatives and the performances of the schemes implemented by the State governments. Four States have been identified for present analysis: Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Manipur.
Andhra Pradesh (Congress Party was in power till recently)- New Initiatives: established Skill Development Fund (SDF), created a Rajiv Education & Employment Mission (REEM) to act as umbrella platform for all the skill development efforts of major departments. Best performance: Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu (RYK) started in 2010-2011 to convert the non-literate, school dropout, unskilled and unemployed youth into productive workforce by building their skills and place them in appropriate jobs. Several focused sub-missions were also set up to target the persons for skilling and job placement. The major changes the scheme brought-out include institutional mechanism approach; IT based implementation system; bio-metric attendance system and post-placement support services. As on April 16, 2014, over 4.95 lakh persons have been trained and placed with jobs in private sector.
Maharashtra-New Initiatives: established Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation (MKC) in 2001 to create new paradigm in education and development through universalization and integration of Information Technology in teaching, learning and educational management processes in particular and socio-economic transformative processes in general. Recently the State has also set up the Maharashtra State Skill Development Society (MSDS) which will act as nodal agency for policy planning, execution and monitoring of skill development initiatives. Best performance: Through MKC, network of over 5000 Learning Centers with more than 40,000 computers with state-of-the-art hardware, software and internet connectivity created; over 8.5 million youth were given state-of-the-art IT Literacy Training; direct student facilitation services to 3.6 million + University students through 5,977 colleges in 13 universities in 2 States were provided; more than 8.4 million youth have been given Online Admissions and Online Recruitment Services across the State ; over 25,000 youth got direct regular employment or self-employment opportunities at their own native places; and about one lakh youths received indirect job opportunities at their own native places.
Kerala- New Initiatives: established Kerala Skills Excellence Academy (KSEA) in 2012 as an apex organization for the skill development initiatives in the State. KSEA facilitates focused training for high-tech automation driven industries (pneumatics, hydraulics or factory automation etc.) through specialized Training Centres which will be set up under existing government Industrial Training Institutes. Construction sector has created maximum employments in the country in recent years. KSEA has also set up a Construction Academy with industry association to conduct training courses, provide accreditations and certification for construction personnel across the entire spectrum ranging from architects and civil engineers to masons, plumbers, etc. Kerala is perhaps the second in the country after Andhra Pradesh to establish sector specific focus to train construction sector workers in large numbers as they are mostly in informal in job nature and unskilled or semi-skilled at present.
Manipur-New Initiatives: established Manipur Skill Development Society (MSDS) in 2011 to impart skill training for youths of Manipur and convert them from unemployed to be employed with a job that earns at least Rs.8,000 to Rs.10,000 per month. MSDS facilitates job oriented skill training offered by reputed institutes/knowledge partners outside the Manipur (Guwahati, Kolkata, Noida, Delhi, Hyderabad, etc.). Thousands of persons have been trained and placed with a job in sectors like Aviation& Travel & Tourism, Ayurveda & Spa Therapy, Beauty Therapy, Hair & Body make up, ITES/BPO, Retail Management, Front Office Operation, Food & Beverage, Banking & Financial Insurance, etc.
All of the above initiatives are quite transformative in nature for varied people in their States. These new initiatives have played a vital role for millions of people to equip with relevant skills and enhance the chances of employability in the job market. We need similar or more pragmatic approach towards skilling or re-skilling of varied sections so as to improve their living standards.